VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL: APPRECIATE YOUR VOLUNTEERS WITH STAFF CARE CARDS

Looking for a better way to Appreciate Volunteers for VBS? If you’re tired of candy bags & popcorn puns, try this new twist that won’t end up in the trash!

STAFF CARE CARDS ARE VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION AT ITS BEST

  • Simple
  • Treasured
  • Bigger than just you

VBS BRAIN FOG: The Struggle is Real!

If you’ve ever dropped the ball on writing thank you notes, you are not alone! 

While most VBS directors are eternally grateful for each volunteer, VBS Brain Fog and End-of -the-Week-Collapse drags us under.

Our grateful intentions get swallowed by:

  • EXHAUSTION (I’m too tired. I’m not thinking clearly. I just can’t do one more thing.)
  • PROCRASTINATION (I waited too long. Now it’s tacky and too late to write a thank you.)
  • INSECURITY (I don’t know what to say. I’m not a writer. My handwriting is awful.)

STAFF CARE CARDS ARE EVEN BETTER THAN YOUR THANK YOU NOTE

  • Staff Care Cards Build Community
  • They Include AND Multiply Your Thank-You
  • They Train Your Team to Encourage and Appreciate Others

Staff Care Cards are a shared experience. They extend far beyond you.

It’s a way to role-model gratefulness while training your team at the same time.

Your volunteers will develop more appreciation for each other, and also learn some skills and gain confidence in sharing.

It breaks down barriers. It builds and deepens relationships. And THAT is the core of ministry.

WHAT ARE CARE CARDS?

A few years ago, my kids came home from a youth mission trip with some paper lunch bags that looked a crumpled and stepped upon. But inside the unassuming wrapping was invaluable treasure. 

The bags were filled with worthless scraps of paper.  But the words that were written? That was the treasure.

“Hey, I loved meeting you. You have a smile that lights up the room.” “Thanks for helping me with____.” “You are smart and funny.” “You did such a great job on _______.”

Each note was signed by someone from the trip. Leaders. Peers. New friends and old. 

My kids still have these crumpled bags. Those notes inside are priceless. And irreplaceable. 

If Care Cards work on a Mission Trip, why not Vacation Bible School?

During the mission trip, a simple clothesline held little paper sandwich bags. Each bag had a name on it. All week long, people dropped in notes of thanks and appreciation. 

Little by little these bags became more valuable than gold.

STAFF CARE CARDS FOR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL MIGHT JUST BE THE MOST MEANINGFUL THING YOU DO THIS YEAR

Here’s a photo of our Vacation Bible School Staff Care Card Board:

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE YOUR VBS STAFF CARE CARDS A SUCCESS

1) Set Up Your Board

What you need:

  • Some sort of board
  • Twine or yarn
  • Clothespins 
  • Paper Bags (sandwich size or smaller)
  • Pens
  • Paper

Attach twine or yarn to any type of board. Bulletin board, foam core, cardboard. You can even use command strips hung on a wall if your church allows that.

Write each volunteer’s name on a bag (adding their VBS position helps too!) and clothespin them to the twine.

Cut some paper into 3”x2” pieces. This helps volunteers know they can write short 1-2 sentence notes. If the paper is too big, people get intimidated trying to think of filling the space. And they won’t write anything. 

2) Place the STAFF CARE CARD BOARD in a high traffic area

Put this board in a place where everyone walks by multiple times each day. Make it highly visible and easy to reach. A counter or table top is great so your paper and pens are accessible.

3) Explain the CARE CARD BOARD to your volunteers

Let your staff know that the Care Card Board is their way to encourage each other. Inspire them to catch each other doing great things. 

Encourage everyone to write quick notes whenever they see a great thing happening.

Tell them to not just thank people for what they DO, but also recognize WHO THEY ARE. 

Many people will initially feel insecure about writing notes, especially if this is new for them.

To help them feel more confident, print a sheet of writing prompts for ideas and also a list of positive adjectives they can use. Post this idea sheet by the board. (I created a FREE Downloadable PDF for you – with fun & easy Care Card Writing Prompts and 37 GREAT words of affirmation!)

4) Remind your Staff Daily (and then some!)

VBS keeps us running, so remind everyone daily (and then some) to drop in some notes. Allow some extra time before or after your staff meetings. Encourage individuals to write a note or two during snack time. Or even stay a bit after the kids toddle away!

Privately ask your core leaders to write a short note to every volunteer. This will ensure that everyone gets multiple notes. It will also help minimize the popularity comparison when some volunteers get more notes than others.

5) Lead the Pack and Set the Example

Catch people doing great things! Let them know you noticed by dropping a note in their bag. It doesn’t take long to write a sentence. Do it on the spot as you think of things.

Keep a master list for yourself of all the volunteers so you can check them off as you complete them. You should write to each volunteer.

You’ll be glad you did when the week comes to an end!

THANK YOUR VOLUNTEERS WITH A BAG OF GOLD

By creating Staff Care Cards, you will get to see worthless paper bags turn into treasure as the week unfolds.

At the end of the week, distribute the bags.

Watch your volunteers eyes light up as they hold tangible representations of the love of God. Amazing things about themselves. In print. To have and keep.

Not just from you, but from the larger body of Christ. 

This experience doesn’t just grow the hearts of the people reading their care cards, but the hearts of everyone who wrote. 

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

So share the sweetness!

If you try this in your church, can you let me know how it goes? Let’s encourage each other as we walk this ministry path!

FOR MORE ON DEVELOPING AN INTENTIONAL KIDS’ MINISTRY:

Team Building in a Small Church: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Keeping, and Appreciating Volunteers

Kids’ Ministry in a Small Church: Build this Foundation so You Don’t Crash and Burn